It’s day 3 here at the Marmaris International Race Week and after what was a long night for most of the boats yesterday with the last team finishing two hours after midnight, there was a much needed chance to regroup and prepare for the second coastal race that took place today. Yet again the competitors were treated to sunny conditions accompanied by some serious heat in the Marmaris Gulf as the 180 strong fleet gathered at the starting line.
Unlike the previous two days the presence of the sun didn’t mean an absence of wind and much to everyone’s delight there was a good breeze early on in the day. Seizing the opportunity, the race committee wasted no time in getting racing started. Following the same procedure as yesterday the smaller divisions started first with the bigger ones following.
The fleet was spread out along the Aegean sea on the first upwind leg with many opting for the right side of the course, keeping the boats away from the shore. But the wind soon died out, slowing down the pace of the race and putting an emphasis on tactics amongst the crews.
The Ukrainian ‘First’ had an early lead but before the team reached the first mark the wind shifted to the right giving the boats behind a chance to hoist their spinnakers and play catch up, which is exactly what they did, beating ‘First’ to the mark. Following yesterdays performance it came as no surprise that one of the boats that overtook the Ukrainians and led the rest of the fleet to the mark was the Volvo 70 ‘Black Betty’.
But the surprise of the day came for one of the smallest boats in the fleet, the 25 foot ‘Ruffles’ that was following close behind the leader. The ultra lightweight boat was clearly benefiting from the fickle conditions, leaving the heavier boats that found it harder to accelerate far behind as it headed to the finish line.
The rest of the fleet was looking almost motionless with the spinnakers barely filling with air and the boats slowing up dramatically. This brought the fleet closer together and made for a challenging mark rounding as the boats attempted to make a clean go of it.
Once the boats hadrounded the mark all eyes were on the horizon and it was looking promising as signs of a breeze began to show and the wind filled in slowly, finally upping the pace the coast race. With Black Betty securely in first place the interest lay further back in the fleet with Ruffles leading the pack at great speed, her crew hoisting their spinnaker and powering across the finish to take second place. Next over the line was UKA UKA in third place, a great achievement for the crew who wasted no time in celebrating their good performance.
With two races sailed there’s still another two that remain before the 24th Marmaris International Race Week reaches its finale. Tomorrow the fleet will race inside the Marmaris gulf for an inshore race, the racing is expected to be faster, closer and undoubtedly action packed so make sure you join us again to get the highlights.
by Michalis Pateniotis
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4:29 AM Thu 31 Oct 2013GMT
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